Sunday, February 3, 2013

What We're Learning at Auxano Skhool

This blog post is going to hark back to the first three weeks in January and all that we've been learning up here at Auxano in our classes. It's pretty awesome, so if you hate awesome, stop reading.

The first week back we did a study of the book of Isaiah with Pastor Rob Filgate. Isaiah is one of the Old Testament prophets and the there are ten prophetic books in the Bible. Isaiah is full of prophecies about Israel and, my favorite, prophecies about Jesus. It was amazing to read through the entire thing in a few days and look at what God so clearly said was going to happen to Israel if they didn't come back to Him. Isaiah describes in detail how they were going to be defeated by the Babylonians, Egyptians and Assyrians. It's amazing to see how clear God is, how specific, long before the events had happened. It's not amazing that He knows the details, it's amazing that He let us in on them. God tells them exactly what is going to happen, why it is going to happen and even what they can do to make it so it doesn't happen (all they have to do, at any time to keep it from happening is repent and follow God) and then for three years He gets Isaiah to prance around without clothes proclaiming these things just to make sure they heard it. Apparently they weren't taking Isaiah seriously so God decided they would take him more seriously if he were, you know, naked. Then when the massacre and captivity actually happens they're like, "Whaaaa....????" as if they didn't know. The prophecies about Jesus are my absolute favorite. Again, God is so specific in His descriptions. I love reading in the New Testament in Luke about how Jesus explained all the Old Testament prophecies about Himself, most of which were from Isaiah. They had gotten the privilege of finally witnessing all the things that centuries earlier had been prophesied about. I can almost see the *click* that would have happened in their little minds. Because it happened in mine the first time I made the same connections.

The second week was our class with the wonderful Andy Renton, a book study on Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Or as we like to call him, The Diets. We don't actually call him that. This book was written while Hitler was persecuting and executing the Jews. Dietrich was part of a sweet underground church and anti-Hitler movement. The book is full of information on how to live as a Christian and the importance of living together in community with other Christians. Granted, it's translated from German into English and written eighty years ago, but it's the kind of book you have to read each sentence five times over before you get it, or read it five times over and just pretend to get it, nod and smile and say "Amen!" And if they ask you a question, answer, "Jesus." It works every time. I love the joke about a Sunday School teacher who asked her class, ‘What’s the animal with a long, bushy tail that eats acorns and lives in trees?’ All the kids look confused and one of them finally answers, ‘Teacher, I know the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel.’ We read Life Together on our own before and then the classes were basically made up of reading it together again out loud, stopping every so often to talk about it and clarify what the heck he is saying. It's definitely one of those books you could read many times throughout your lifetime and get something from it every time. Or a few thousand things. Give or take. Our favorite part was about the all-critical singing in unison of which Dietrich says, "There are some destroyers of unison singing in the fellowship that must be rigorously eliminated." Diets wasn't a big fan of harmony. What he was a big fan of was getting up early to read the Bible, sharing the Word of God with fellow believers, being quick to listen and slow to speak, worshipping God while we work, eat and sleep, being thankful and responsible with the little things God gives you if you want Him to trust you with the big things, intercessory prayer, which means not just praying for yourself but praying for your fellow believers, ESPECIALLY the ones you have a hard time with. He said if you are gossiping or harboring a grudge against a fellow believer it means you are not praying for them.

The third week we had our class on the Holy Spirit with the lovely Joyce Hilchie. It was a book study as well, on the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I really loved what Francis had to say, though I found he took a long time to get to it. He said how the Holy Spirit is often overlooked with Christians today. We talk about Jesus and God a lot, but what was it that Jesus said He was going to give to us after He left? The Holy Spirit. In fact He said it was better for us that He left so that we could get the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who will not just live with us like Jesus did, but actually dwell inside of us, helping us, comforting us, guiding us, revealing the things of God to us and speaking to God on our behalf. Instead we often ignore the Holy Spirit, or start taking advantage of Him and doing unbiblical things, getting as out of control as the church of Corinth that Paul writes to. Then not only the non-Christians are freaked out by even the mention of the Holy Spirit, but the Christians are too. For good reason. Because those holy-rolling, tongue-babbling Christians are freaking scary. If you are of the impression that the Holy Spirit is supposed to be this crazy, out-of-control maniac, please read 1 and 2 Corinthians. And if you are of the opinion that the Holy Spirit never does amazing, supernatural things today, please read Acts. Or even better, if you think that God is just some distant God and doesn't really work through His Holy Spirit here on earth please read Genesis through Revelation. A major point Francis Chan makes is that the church should never be operating by it's own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit. But so often they do. Why? Because they aren't coming from a place of desperation. They have everything they need: money, power, resources. Who needs the Holy Spirit? And, because as the saying goes, God is a gentleman, He won't force His Spirit on them. Just like the invitation to choose Jesus, the Holy Spirit is an invitation to believers. If you haven't chosen Him, you don't know what you're missing. Or maybe you do and you just despise love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, because you hate fruit and you've decided that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is probably just the same kind of fruit as an orange.

COMING SOON: a blog post about our amazing adventures at Missions Fest, A Rocha and Mt. Washington.

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